Message from Tami Miketa, Manager of the Small Forest Landowner Office

Alternate Plans for Family Forests

The authors of the 1999 Forests and Fish Report recognized that the new rules would economically impact landowners, and CMZoldbarsemphasized the use of alternate plans as means of reducing the impacts. Alternate plans are site-specific management strategies that differ from the rules but are designed to result in equal or better public resource protection.

Alternate plans must describe how the proposed management options depart from the rules and how the alternative strategy is as effective as the rule prescription. Plans may be submitted for completion within a 3 to 5 year period as part of a single forest practices application or multiple applications where all the harvest units covered by the applications have similar geographical and environmental characteristics. Some examples where alternate plans may be useful include:

  • Where minor on-the-ground modifications could result in significant operational efficiencies.
  • Where site conditions have created an economically inaccessible management unit under the rules.
  • Where the landowner proposes methods to facilitate landscape, riparian, or stream restoration.

The alternate plan application form requires that landowners provide:

  • A written description of current site conditions, including tree species, height, and age; forest health issues (blowdown, fire damage, disease); and topography.
  • Management goals, proposed activities, how the plan deviates from the rules, and how the plan protects public resources.
  • A scaled map (preferably 1” = 400’ scale) of the management unit identifying the area included in the alternate plan, and the location of all streams, wetlands, lakes and ponds, unstable slopes, existing or proposed roads, and proposed activities.
  • Documentation that all sites included in the plan share sufficient common characteristics to be considered together.

Under some conditions, DNR may require a description of the landowner’s proposed implementation schedule and monitoring strategy. Landowners may volunteer to develop the monitoring strategy or allow DNR to use its discretion.

The riparian functions that must be considered and addressed in an alternate plan are explained in Section 21 of the Forest Practices Board Manual. The section also includes two templates specifically for small forest landowners:

  • The Western Washington Overstocked Stand template is designed to increase riparian function in stands that have or will show signs of suppressed growth. The harvest strategies include a no-harvest zone and a thinning zone.
  •  The Western Washington Fixed Width Riparian Management Zones template offers small forest landowners a simplified “fixed width” riparian buffer option for Type S and F Waters in Western Washington. The buffer widths vary according to site class and range from 75 feet for site class V to 145 feet for site class I.

If correctly applied, these templates may not require an Interdisciplinary Team to visit the site or the level of documentation required for standard alternate plans.

Additional information on alternate plans can be found on the Small Forest Landowner Office website, by calling the Small Forest Landowner Office at (360) 902-1415, or contacting your DNR region office.

Marketplace Report – June 2014 Economic Forecast

David Chertudi, DNR Lead Economist

Tree Dollar SignU.S. Economy and Housing Market. While a harsh winter and business inventory adjustments caused the U.S. economy to shrink by 1.0 percent in the first quarter of 2014, most analysts expect growth to rally for the remainder of the year. Year-over-year GDP growth remains modest at just above two percent when averaged over the last four quarters ending in March. In October 2009 the unemployment rate peaked at 10.0%, but has slowly fallen to 6.3% as of April 2014. The housing market continues to show positive signs with new housing starts for 2013 up 18% over 2012 and 52% over 2011. Average U.S. housing prices have been trending upward since January of 2012. However, the U.S. economy still faces significant challenges – unemployment remains high and there are significant difficulties for younger graduates and workers, as well as the long term unemployed. While the financial and economic crises in Europe are improving, several European countries remain in recession and the crisis in Ukraine has introduced significant political and economic uncertainty. China’s economy continues to show signs of underlying problems. Finally, the U.S. government still has not implemented a coherent, growth-driven economic policy – which is unlikely to happen in the highly politicized environment of an election year.

Lumber and Log Prices. Lumber and log prices were up in 2013 and continue to improve. While it varied widely, Random Lengths’ Coast Dry Random and Stud composite lumber price averaged $370/mbf in 2013 – up 20% from the 2012 average of $309/mbf – and has averaged $384/mbf to date in 2014. Pacific Northwest log prices also moved up sharply after being fairly flat for 2011 and most of 2012, with the price for all grades of Doug-fir averaging $616 in April.

Pine Needle Casts

Amy Ramsey-Kroll, DNR Forest Pathologist

This spring DNR’s Forest Health section received numerous inquiries about the health of pine trees in eastern Washington. Concerned landowners have sent numerous pictures and samples from various locations across the state, from Cle Elum to Colville. Observations have included an abundance of red, dead, needles in the two year and older foliage, with concerns primarily focused on ponderosa pine. After looking over the pictures and samples, and visiting some of the areas in eastern Washington with the most dramatic symptoms, the cause appears to be Pine Needle Cast.

Symptoms of Pine Needle Cast in a ponderosa pine.  Notice the red, dead needles on the two-year old foliage.  Photo: A. Walker.

Symptoms of Pine Needle Cast in a ponderosa pine. Notice the red, dead needles on the two-year old foliage. Photo: A. Walker.

Pine Needle Cast is caused by fungi that infect the needles of the host trees. Multiple species of fungi can cause this infection, with Elytroderma, Lophodermella, Lophodermium, and Dothistroma species being the most common in our area. Susceptible foliage in the tree usually includes new and one-year old needles.

Population levels of needle cast fungi are cyclic and are strongly associated with local weather. Most needle cast fungi require cool, moist conditions to persist. Dry spring and fall months normally result in low levels of needle cast the following year, while wet spring and fall months normally result in higher levels of needle cast the following year. September 2013 was an unusually wet month across the state of Washington, providing ideal environmental conditions for new foliar fungal infections. If spring and fall this year are relatively dry, there will likely not be much needle cast observed next year.

Management Options

Needle casts rarely cause mortality in trees, but can reduce the growth of the host if infection levels are severe enough. Below are some management options to reduce potential growth impacts or address the aesthetic issue of Pine Needle Cast.

  • Leave the trees. Trees affected by needle casts will shed their foliage, usually during a large wind event or storm. The current red foliage will eventually fall off the host. As new foliage emerges, the green plant tissue will mask some of the red foliage remaining on the tree. While not all the red needle cast- infected foliage will be cast from the tree, the symptoms of the needle cast will not be as obvious and pronounced.
  • Remove infected trees. Infected trees may be cut in order to remove the visual impact of the disease. This is a high intensity management strategy, but one that can be used to achieve reduced stocking objectives in affected stands.
  • Low intensity prescribed fire. Needle cast fungi reside in the foliage, even after the needles have been shed from the tree. A low intensity ground based prescribed fire will reduce the amount of fungal inoculum present in the effected ponderosa pine stands, and therefore will reduce the amount of inoculum that could cause new infections.
  • Reduce the stocking in some of the stands to change the microenvironment conditions of the stand. If the basal area is reduced and space is created in between the crowns of trees, it will promote more air flow and likely drier conditions that are not conducive for foliar fungi germination. This provides a proactive approach for managing the disease over time.
  • Ensure seed zone of any planted ponderosa pine stock matches the area is it planted in. Genetic differences in host and pathogen can affect the amount of disease present. It’s always best to obtain tree and plant stock that is native and adapted to the specific area where it will be planted.

Healthy Forests include Wildlife Habitat

Ken Bevis, DNR Stewardship Wildlife Biologist

Complex forest structure.

Complex forest structure.

Historically, dry eastern Washington forests saw frequent low intensity fires that reduced stocking levels and maintained stand structures dominated by large overstory trees. In many places the result was a mosaic of large trees, scattered and in clumps, with frequent openings and areas of grass and shrub species such as choke cherry, elderberry, willow, buck brush, etc. Native wildlife species adapted to, and thrived in these conditions. However, for the last 100 or so years, humans have aggressively controlled the fire regime, leading to overstocked stands, less resiliency to drought, insects, and fire, and a decrease in wildlife habitat.

Simplified, park-like forest structure.

Simplified, park-like forest structure.

Today, we use words like “Forest Health” and “Fire Wise” to describe thinning and other management actions designed to improve stand health. However, when the treatment is too aggressive it results in simplified habitats that lack the structure needed by many of our native wildlife species.

Can you have a healthy, fire wise forest and promote habitat diversity? You bet! With a little additional planning, mechanical thinning can be used to promote wildlife habitat, enhance individual tree vigor and decrease fuel buildup. When you or your contractor lay out the unit:

  • Identify and mark important structural elements such as snags and downed logs for retention.
  • Define specific areas for different types of treatment.
  • Protect all of the large snags and logs.
  • Keep larger trees as foundational units in an irregular pattern, averaging the desired spacing.
  • Retain shrub (mid-canopy) habitat across the treated area to create and maintain a mixed habitat structure.
  • Utilize “Fire Wise” techniques around all structures.

Useful techniques include:

  • Targeting approximately 10% of the area in the unit for wildlife structures.

    Wildlife log pile.

    Wildlife log pile.

  • Leaving patches uncut between ½ to 1 ½ dominant tree heights for wildlife cover.
  • Locating and leaving particularly rich patches of native shrubs, emphasizing those that bear fruit like elderberry, chokecherry, and vine maple. If the shrubs are a little leggy, prune them or thin them minimally.
  • Placing leave patches in strategic manner to provide some screening for larger animals such as deer, elk and bear in the back portions of the treated areas.
  • Leaving the lower limbs on trees where the limbs aren’t associated with other ladder fuels.
  • Avoiding existing large wood with the machinery.
  • Aiming for two hard and two soft snags per acre. If they don’t exist, create them by cutting off the largest thinning trees (7” to 8” dbh) as high as the sawyer can reach. Remember – a tall stump is a short snag!
  • Using larger pieces of wood as bottom layers for constructed habitat piles. Try for a density of 2 to 3 piles per acre and place them away from roads and major access points. Dispose of the majority of smaller material and stack smaller diameter logs into piles of 3 to 8 pieces to create a large log surrogate.

    Southeast Region Landowner Assistance Manager Chuck Wytko and snag.

    Southeast Region Landowner Assistance Manager Chuck Wytko and snag.

  • Leaving a few patches of large leave trees with crowns within 3 feet of each other or touching to allow canopy wildlife species to travel easily between trees. This could be part of a leave clump or a small area in or adjacent to an opening.

Many species will benefit from these techniques including arboreal mammals (Douglas, red, western gray and flying squirrels), deer and elk, canopy dwelling neotropical migrants such as the western tanager, shrub loving songbirds (warblers, towhee), down log dependents such as fence lizards and chipmunks, and of course, woodpeckers and other cavity dwellers.

For more information, contact the DNR Stewardship Wildlife Biologist Ken Bevis at Ken.Bevis@dnr.wa.gov.

Upcoming Events, Workshops and New Publications

Workshops

Forest Stewardship Coached Planning – If you own wooded property, our flagship course will teach you how to assess your trees, avoid insect and disease problems, and attract wildlife. State experts will help you develop your own Forest Stewardship Plan for keeping your woods on track to provide enjoyment and income for years to come.

Forest Owners Field Day – Field days feature a whole suite of our most popular forest stewardship workshops. The state’s top forestry specialists will be offering hands-on field sessions throughout the day on a variety of topics that will help you to better understand, protect, enhance, and enjoy your forest.

Managing and Monitoring for Biodiversity – If you are interested in how to manage your forest in an environmentally sensitive way, join us for this workshop. We’ll look at examples of ecological harvesting, and participants will practice using a basic monitoring tool newly developed by Northwest Natural Resource Group and the World Wildlife Fund to evaluate biodiversity conditions within managed forests. §  Tenino – Saturday August 2, 2014 from 10 am to 2 p.m. at the Heernett Environmental Foundation, 7332 Churchill Rd, SE. Please bring lunch. To reserve your spot, contact Meagan at meagan@nnrg.org, or (503) 545-8685. Limited to 25 participants.

Timber Cruising and Forest Inventory – This program will provide basic knowledge and skills needed to cruise stands of trees and create a reliable forest inventory. We’ll answer the question, “why cruise”, and talk about cruising principles, types of cruises, cruise methods, designing a cruise and calculations.

  • Walla Walla – Wednesday July 9, 2014 5 pm, to 8 pm and Thursday July 10, 2014 9 am to 2 pm (field). Pre-registration required.

Tree School - The Spokane Conservation District and WSU Spokane County Extension are planning an educational conference for foresters, arborists, small forestland owners and backyard gardeners who want to expand their skills and knowledge. Participants will choose from 16 course offerings and attend up to six

  • Spokane – Saturday August 16, 2014. Registration required.

On-line Classes

Forest Stewardship University offers a complete online education experience, featuring over 20 mini-courses ranging from forest health to taxes.

New Publications 

Forestry Education and Assistance for Washington Forest Landowners – A directory of key agencies and contacts for forest owners throughout Washington.

Consulting Foresters Directory – A listing of private consultants that can help you carry out forest management activities.

Small-scale Sawmill Directory – These databases provide a partial listing of sawmills that accept small quantities of logs:

Woodland Fish and Wildlife:

Message from Tami Miketa, Manager of the Small Forest Landowner Office – Forest Owner’s Field Days

This summer, family forest landowners have another unique opportunity heading their way. Washington State University Extension and DNR are co-sponsoring and hosting two Forest Owner’s Field Days – one in western Washington and one in eastern Washington.

6063134763_98e2916bb3_oStewarding land can be both rewarding and challenging, with success dependent on the decisions and actions you take. Attending the Forest Owner’s Field Day will prepare you to develop a management plan for your woodlands and to conduct activities that will help you to reduce risks and protect your financial investment.

Led by recognized experts in forest management, wildlife habitat, and other forest stewardship disciplines, this “out-in-the-woods” educational event will provide useful and unbiased information intended to meet landowners’ needs whether they own five or more than 500 acres. Participants can choose from a variety of classes and activities taught by specialists in forest health, wildlife habitat, weed control, wildfire protection, thinning and pruning, landowner assistance programs, timber and non-timber forest products, using global positioning systems, chainsaw safety and maintenance, forestry taxes, and forestland security and safety. Presenters will be available to answer questions specific to your property situation. Youth activities, exhibitors and demonstrations will be available throughout the day.DSC00215

The eastern Washington Forest Owner’s Field Day will be held on Saturday, June 21, from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm at the Horsmann Hills Farm near Newport, Washington. The location is within easy driving distance from Kootenai, Bonner, Stevens, Ferry, and Spokane counties.

The fee for those who register by Friday, June 13, is $20 per person or $30 for a family of two or more. After that the fee is $30 per person or $40 per family. An optional BBQ lunch will be available for $10 per person. Lunch reservations must be received by June 13.

The western Washington Forest Owner’s Field Day will be held August 9th at a location that is yet to be finalized. More to come on this!

So mark your calendars and come join the more than 10,500 satisfied families who have already experienced these Field Day events across the state!

For more information contact WSU Extension Forester Andy Perleberg at 509-667-6540 or by email at andyp@wsu.edu.

2013 Forest Health Report Highlights

The Department of Natural Resources’ 2013 Forest Health report was released in March. It shows that while our forests continue to face forest health challenges, they also appear to be holding their own. What follows are a few highlights, with the full report available online.

In 2013, the area of forestland containing some level of tree mortality, defoliation, or disease was about half of that reported in 2012. Acres with mortality from bark beetles decreased and mortality from mountain pine beetle, Douglas-fir beetle, and fir engraver is at a ten-year low.

Drought
Pacific Northwest weather was influenced by the La Nada (neutral) effect in 2013, resulting in a moderately wet spring and above average temperatures from June to September. However, an unusual number of conifers in western Washington exhibited top-kill, dead branches, and whole tree mortality. Most trees examined showed no indication of being killed by pathogens, insects, or other animals. The damage was primarily the result of an extended period with little to no rain during August and September of 2012 and a drier than normal spring in 2013. Douglas fir trees 5 to 15 years old appeared to be the most commonly affected, but some larger trees also showed symptoms. Damage was most severe in areas with rocky soils, such as in glacial outwash around the Puget Sound.

Fire
The 2013 wildfire season began unusually early for western Washington due to abnormally hot, dry, and windy conditions in early May. Two small wildfires, the C Line Fire in Capital State Forest and the Dog Mountain Fire near Riffe Lake in Lewis County, each burned approximately 100 acres. In contrast, the eastern Washington wildfire season was delayed due to widespread rains in late June. Wildfire conditions worsened across Washington in July and August with warm, dry weather and the number of lightning strikes was above normal. Almost 70 percent of the fires in DNR’s jurisdiction were human caused, with approximately 126,000 acres burned – well above the 10 year average of 29,000 acres.

Insects and Disease

  • Pine bark beetle activity recorded by aerial survey decreased in 2013 to approximately 107,000 acres compared to the 156,000 acres in 2012.
  • Mountain pine beetle damage decreased to the lowest level in ten years, with declines seen in all pine hosts. The most concentrated areas of Mountain pine beetle-caused mortality occurred in Chelan County, western Okanogan County, northern Ferry County, and near the border between Yakima and Klickitat counties.
  • Approximately 11,000 acres with Douglas fir beetle-caused mortality were observed statewide in 2013, down from 26,000 acres in 2012. This is the lowest level recorded in the last ten years. Concentrated areas with Douglas fir beetle- caused mortality were detected in western Okanogan County, likely associated with long-term defoliation by western spruce budworm.
  • Western spruce budworm continues to damage trees in areas of eastern Washington; however affected acres were a third of those reported in 2012. A similar decline has also been reported in adjacent western states and British Columbia. Mid-elevation forested areas of Kittitas, Okanogan, and Ferry counties were most heavily affected.
  • Approximately 14,000 acres with western blackheaded budworm defoliation were observed in western Washington, primarily on the east side of the Olympic Peninsula and west of Mt. Rainier in Lewis County. Both western hemlock and Pacific silver fir were moderately defoliated.
  • An outbreak of Douglas fir tussock moth in the Blue Mountains from 2011 to 2012 has collapsed due to natural controls. A 2011 to 2012 outbreak of hemlock loopers in the vicinity of Baker Lake in Whatcom and Skagit counties has also collapsed due to natural controls.
  • Needlecast diseases in eastern Washington affecting larch and pine decreased significantly in 2013. Approximately 11,000 acres of needlecast symptoms were observed in western larch, 4,500 acres in lodgepole pine, and 200 acres in ponderosa pine.

The Rights, Wrongs, and Realities of Pruning

Andy Perleberg, WSU Extension Educator

Pruning is the most commonly implemented cultural practice among family forest owners. It helps produce lumber clear of knots, reduces the risk of fire climbing into crowns, may decrease the transmission of certain diseases, and improves the aesthetic appeal of the stand. Regardless of why you’re pruning your trees, it’s important that you do it and do it properly so your management objectives are achieved.

This article presents the basics of pruning. For a good “how-to” guide, try Conifer Pruning Basics for Family Forest Landowners (WSU 1984) or How to Prune Trees (USDA Forest Service 2012).

Why Prune?
close sawThe first step in pruning is answering the question, “What’s my ideal forest condition?” If you want a stand of crop trees with high quality wood, you’ll want to start pruning early in the tree’s life and conduct your pruning in combination with thinning treatments – typically when the tree diameter is about the size of a tuna can. If you prune before you thin, you risk investing time and money into pruning trees that will be removed in the future. As a general rule, you want to leave 50 percent of the total tree height in live crown. Reducing the crown beyond this level decreases the tree’s “energy factory,” or its ability to photosynthesize for maximum production and vigor.

Pruning to develop clear, knot-free wood is labor intensive and usually requires two or three prunings over time. It can be expensive to hire out the job as well, and there is no guarantee that the clear logs you produce will fetch a premium when they sell. Pruning certification does exist in New Zealand, but domestic markets don’t generally reward for this practice. If the market develops in the future, you’ll need documentation, so take photos and record your pruning activities in business or tree farm inspection records.

If your main reason for pruning is to reduce the risk of fire being carried into the crowns of the trees by ladder fuel, bear in mind that your goal is to reduce fuel and break the chain of radiant and convective heat. In this case, it is advisable to prune heavier and earlier in the stand’s development, achieving at least a 12-foot “lift” or clear bole. Because you should never remove more than one half of the crown at a time, you may need to prune the tree at least twice.

With the exception of fire protection, pruning is typically conducted before the limbs are greater than one inch in diameter. There is no need to dress the wound because the tree will seal off with pitch and eventually wood will compartmentalize the site, creating clear wood beyond that ring. Pruning early before the limbs are large in diameter decreases the opportunity for bugs and crud to enter, and will develop clear wood sooner. Never cut into the branch collar, as that will greatly enlarge the wound.

Finally, pruning can reduce infection and risk of exposure to white pine blister rust, a potentially deadly disease that can be contracted by all five-needled pines. The blister rust fungus enters the tree through the needles and travels down the branch where the symptoms are expressed by an orange-red canker on the trunk of the tree. It is practically impossible to eliminate blister rust from the stand, but pruning and/or thinning any signs of disease can greatly reduce the chance of trees becoming infected. For a complete article about white pine blister rust, read White Pine Blister Rust: Pruning Can Increase Survival. Pruning may also help control mistletoe, an endemic parasitic plant to all conifer species.

When Should I Prune?
Pruning can take place anytime you have a free hour from August to February. Trees should never be pruned when they are actively growing (about mid- March to mid-July) because the bark and branch collars are soft and easily stripped off. You can also time your pruning to take advantage of specialty markets such as Christmas greenery.

Accomplishing the Pruning
Pruning work can be done by the landowner or hired out. If you’re going to do it yourself, make a schedule and try to stick to it – life branch removalfrequently gets in the way! You can also hire the job out, but if you’re not using quality pruning crews with supervisors, make sure your help is trained and closely supervised. Except for fire protection purposes, you should never prune more trees per acre than you expect to have when you actually harvest.

While there is a variety of tools that can be used, most professionals agree that chainsaws are too awkward and fast for use in pruning. If you choose to use chainsaws or motorized pole pruners, make sure the operator always has two feet on the ground. Never operate a saw when fatigued.

Quality saws are essential, so buy the best that you can afford. Keep them in good shape by removing pitch daily and replacing blades. Remember, a dull saw just makes your work slower. Good hand pruning saws can be purchased for about $25, while good-quality 18-foot telescoping poles cost as much as $200. Purchasing your saws from a forestry supplier ensures that the equipment has been tested by forestry professionals. Safety equipment is also a must, and includes a hardhat with safety glasses or a screen, a long-sleeved shirt or coat, boots, gloves, and thick pants.

Andy Perleberg can be reached at 509-667-6540 or andyp@wsu.edu. Portions of this article were originally published in Northwest Woodlands in the fall of 2008.

Forests and Fish: the Cooperative Monitoring, Evaluation and Research Committee Story

Jim Hotvedt, Adaptive Management Program Administrator

In the two previous installments of our Adaptive Management series, we provided the context and history for the Forests and Fish Report and the development of the Forest Practices Adaptive Management Program. This month, we continue the series with the role of the Cooperative Monitoring, Evaluation and Research Committee.

When the Timber Fish and Wildlife Agreement was negotiated in 1987, there was a great deal of scientific uncertainty about some of the recommended forest practices. To deal with the uncertainty, the Forest Practices Board established the Cooperative Monitoring, Evaluation and Research Committee (CMER) and charged the committee with using best available science to address scientific questions, conduct research; and monitor forest practices. From 1988 to 1997 CMER implemented the monitoring, evaluation, and research goals of the Timber Fish and Wildlife Agreement and submitted reports to the Forest Practices Board recommending actions for improving forest practices. From 1997 until today, CMER has focused on the goals and recommendations of the 1999 Forests and Fish Report (Schedule-L).

CMER LogoThe role of CMER is to advance the science related to forestry, fish, and wildlife and to “…provide science-based recommendations and technical information…” that will assist the Forest Practices Board in adjusting the State’s forestry rules and guidance (WAC 222-12-045).

The committee is made up of members with scientific expertise in the disciplines of forestry, fisheries, wildlife biology, and landscape processes. Members represent timber landowners, environmental interests, state agencies, county governments, federal agencies, tribal governments.

Currently, CMER is supported by four active scientific advisory groups: Landscape-Wildlife, Riparian, Wetlands, and Eastside. A fifth advisory group (Upland Processes) is currently inactive. The purpose of the advisory groups is to design and implement research and monitoring projects as prioritized by CMER, with each group focusing on specific aspects of the forest practices rules.

In addition to conducting research, CMER is charged with providing technical information and consensus-based recommendations to the Timber Fish and Wildlife Policy Committee and the Board. It maintains a comprehensive work plan of research and monitoring projects; recommends research priorities and spending requests; establishes research protocols and standards; and analyzes project results. Results are summarized in periodic reports to the Board. These reports are published on the CMER web site.

A CMER project is defined as a research or monitoring study or task resulting in a report or product. The typical project undergoes scoping to clarify the purpose and objectives of the study, reviews existing literature, develops a study design and implementation plan, collects field data, performs data analysis, and develops a final report. The 2015 fiscal year work plan consists of over 90 projects covering a range of topics related to the forest practices rules, in addition to the status of each project.

Project examples include:

  • Riparian management zone prescription effectiveness in protecting and maintaining shade and water temperature in Eastern Washington (complete).
  • Mass wasting effectiveness monitoring project: an examination of the landslide response to the December 2007 storm in southwestern Washington (complete).
  • Eastern Washington riparian assessment (ongoing).
  • Riparian hardwood conversion (ongoing).

The Forest Practices Adaptive Management Program would not be successful without the cooperation of forest landowners. Not only do forest landowners provide representation on the TFW Policy Committee and scientists to participate in CMER, they also provide study sites (land) for the many field projects undertaken by the program.

Next Issue: The Adaptive Management Policy Committee

Rivers and Habitat Open Space Program

Options for Owners of Timbered Lands within Channel Migration Zones in Washington State

CMZoldbars

Channel migration zone and gravel bars.

Beginning May 1, 2014, DNR will accept applications for conservation easements in channel migration zones. The Rivers and Habitat Open Space Program compensates landowners who are prohibited by the Forest Practice Rules from harvesting timber on forest lands within channel migration zones or within critical habitat for threatened and endangered species.

In this program, landowners can either donate or sell permanent conservation easements for trees, or both land and trees, on their qualifying properties. Sixteen easements have been purchased since 2002 when funding first became available.

How to apply
The application is available on the DNR website, or by contacting Dan Pomerenk in DNR’s Forest Practices Division (360-902-1427, dan.pomerenk@dnr.wa.gov). Applications will be accepted from May 1 through July 31, 2014.

To qualify for the Rivers and Habitat Open Space Program, the project must:

  • Be located within an channel migration zone;
  • Be identified in county assessor records as “designated forest land” under chapter 84.33 RCW or “current use forest land” under chapter 84.34 RCW;
  • Provide legal access to the land for DNR to administer the program and easement;
  • Be agreed to by all persons who have an interest in the property. Each person must individually convey their interests to the state to the extent necessary for the purchase of the property or conservation easement;
  • Have an applicant willing and able to provide reasonable indemnification; and
  • Be suitable for fisheries enhancement or ecological protection.

The application requires:

  • A description of the proposed property including the location and the estimated acreage.
  • A description of the method used to determine whether the land qualifies as a channel migration zone.
  • A map showing the approximate boundary between the channel migration zone and the adjoining riparian management zone core area.

Mail the completed application, property description, the method used for determining that the property qualifies as a channel migration zone, and map to:

Washington Department of Natural Resources
Forest Practices Division
Rivers and Habitat Open Space Program
P.O. Box 47012
Olympia, WA 98504-7012

Review process
A selection committee will prioritize applications for funding based on the project’s ecological value to salmon and other species, benefits to water quality, the quality of habitat, site significance, and landowner management options. Projects will be funded in order of ranked priority until all funds are expended. It is not known at this time how many projects can be funded in this biennium. If eligible applications exceed current funding, the remaining applicants can opt to be considered for future funding opportunities.

In the near future, DNR will post the application and instructions for easements in critical habitat for state threatened and endangered species; and will begin accepting applications.